I was waiting for some work to be done on the car and decided to stroll around the small park next to the Nashville West shopping center. Not that long ago the whole area was woods. It was private property, someone’s old farmland I think, that had been left so trees grew up, providing a buffer between the interstate to the north and the neighborhoods to the south. Then, I think, the owner died, developers swooped in, and the whole area was bulldozed and they crammed in as many retail outlets as they could. The park feels like a perfunctory afterthought, probably a city requirement to provide a certain amount of “green space”. There’s a playground in one corner, and some benches, and a guitar sculpture on one side.
Mostly, though, it’s just empty, treeless space. Across from the guitar sculpture there’s a tunnel that separates the park from a few small office buildings and a preserved log home, possibly some memorial to early settlers although there’s no information about it anywhere.
And inside the tunnel there’s a lot of graffiti.
It’s disappointing, though. A lot of it just feels like people came in with markers, maybe some spray paint, and doodled a few messages and tags, a few swear words, an “I was here”. There’s no spark, no real imagination, no effort.
And I had the unsettling feeling that this was all a metaphor for where I am in my life right now. I’ve been in a holding pattern, stuck. My boss reminded me the other day that I need to take some vacation time or I’ll start losing it. I’m not sure what I’d do with vacation time. There aren’t a lot of places I feel safe going, not that much to do. I’m not depressed but I feel down. I need to get through this. I need to make a change.
There’s a poem by Rilke called Archaic Torso of Apollo that’s all about looking at a great work of art and feeling it completely change your perspective. The poem ends, “You must change your life.”
Sometimes looking at really lousy art can prompt the same thought.